A Somali court on Monday sentenced a freelance journalist to two months in prison on charges of threatening national security, according to a press association, a case that has since been criticised by human rights activists and media groups.
The conviction of Abdalle Ahmed Mumin is "a clear travesty of justice," stated the president of the Somali Journalists' Union (SJS) on Twitter, promising to challenge the verdict against the journalist, who is also the secretary general of his organisation.
"It not only sends a chilling message to the entire media community but also instils fear among professionals and press freedom groups," Ibrahim added.
Before the conviction, human rights organisations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the International Press Institute called for the prosecution to be dropped, claiming that Mumin had faced ongoing threats and persecution from Somali authorities for defending the right to free expression.
The prosecutions add "significantly to the closure of civic space in the country," they wrote in a joint letter to Somalia's attorney general in December.
Abdalle Ahmed Mumin was arrested in October, just after the government announced a stepped-up crackdown on media outlets suspected of spreading propaganda for the extremist Islamist Shebab.
The SJS union and four other media organizations had challenged the government's decision, claiming it would limit freedom of expression.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) ranks Somalia 140th (out of 180 nations) on its global press freedom index, with more than 50 journalists slain in the country since 2010.
Somalia (population 17 million) is the most dangerous country in Africa for journalists, according to Reporters without Borders.
They are primarily endangered by the al-Qaeda-linked Shabab, which is attempting to destabilize the internationally supported government, but the authorities are also accused of violating the journalist's rights.
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